No ancient site, church, monastery in Afrin targeted in Turkish airstrike so far: Foreign Ministry

No ancient site, church, monastery in Afrin targeted in Turkish airstrike so far: Foreign Ministry

ANKARA
No ancient site, church, monastery in Afrin targeted in Turkish airstrike so far: Foreign Ministry

The Turkish government has denied Lebanese media reports claiming Turkish warplanes bombed the archaeological site of Brad near Syria’s Afrin district during “Operation Olive Branch” on March 24. 

The reports published on March 23 claimed that Turkish airstrikes destroyed the Julianus Church and the Brad Monastery in the Brad ancient site near Afrin.

In a written statement, Turkish Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hami Aksoy termed the reports “completely untrue,” state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

“No airstrike targeting the Brad [ancient] site, Julianus Church and Brad monastery has been carried out by the Turkish Armed Forces so far,” he added.

He said it could be easily proved that the Julianus Church was destroyed by armed groups in 2013, he added.

“Contrary to the claims, every kind of measure has been taken not to damage regional and cultural structures, historical artifacts and archeological sites since the start of the operation,” Aksoy said.

The spokesman said Turkey had taken necessary steps to prove such reports were wrong.

Turkey launched “Operation Olive Branch” on Jan. 20 to clear People’s Protection Units (YPG) militants from Afrin. On March 18, the Turkish armed forces and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) declared full control over the city.

Turkey considers the YPG to be the Syrian extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Four Turkish soldiers were killed on March 22 in eastern Turkey and Afrin in two separate instances involving the YPG and the PKK, officials have said.

Operation Olive Branch, Afrin, ancient site, archeological site, Syria, Turkey